If you were dismayed that none of your friends and family thought to compile a 400-page book of great quotations from Russian president Vladimir Putin, you’re not alone. Anton Volodin, part of the Russian youth political movement Network, thought the dearth of books providing direct access to the brain of the controversy-spawning leader was a tragedy, so he edited one himself. It is called Words That Change the World. Volodin said he had a theory that everything Putin said ended up coming true, per Reuters. "In this book we traced his words and confirmed that idea."
One thousand copies were sent to the Kremlin, which were handed out to officials and politicians as a New Year’s present. According to Reuters, those who received the present were "told by a top Putin aide that it should sit on their desks."
Those officials who follow the advice will be able to have unfettered access to gems like “I drink kefir" and "For me Russia is my whole life." Putin’s spokesperson said that he does not know what is going on with the books, and that the president had nothing to do with it. “I have not seen this book, have not read it and I don’t know who is sending it off,” he told reporters, per the New York Times. Network has received grants from the Kremlin before but says it did not use government funds when publishing the book.
The Network really likes Putin. According to The Guardian, the group says, reverently, on its website, "We are together with the father, at one with him. We do not fight against the power of the father; we share it, we learn to use it, and together with the father we direct its energy towards our present and future.”
This is not the only Putin-themed book making its way onto holiday gift-giving lists. A calendar with 12 different Putin photos and quotes, published by a Russian tabloid, has been selling out like crazy in Russia.
March features a pensive Putin taking a break and smelling a flower while thinking about the ladies. “I like all Russian women,” the caption reads. “I personally think that Russian women are the most talented and the most beautiful.” November shows Putin hugging a cute puppy next to the caption “Dogs and I have very warm feelings for one another.”
It is not clear if these quotes found their way into the compendium of Putin sayings.
More than one month features Putin extolling the virtues of fishing.
Per The Guardian, a Putin-themed perfume was also released earlier this month; its scent was described as “soft but at the same time very firm.”
It is not clear if Putin himself has decided to give out these gifts to his own friends, family, and fellow leaders, or whether he prefers sticking to his own ideas, which always prove to be more uniquely Putin than any assortment of his words could ever be. Earlier this year, Putin gave the president of Egypt an AK-47 and the president of China a smartphone. He gave the Obamas fancy espresso cups, and George H.W. Bush a painting of his younger self.
He has also given most American leaders the priceless gift of a picture commemorating a moment when they were having one of the most unpleasant experiences of their lives.